Author Archive

A Sound Picture of Place: Baltimore

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In the days after the police killing of Tamir Rice, I came across the writing of Stacia Brown (including her essay For Tamir, Who Was Stolen). Her writing on Black motherhood drew in this young reader who rarely clicked on links about motherhood.
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Old Stories, New Ballets

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In recent years, the narrative ballet has reemerged, and with it, stories both forgotten and classic have appeared on the stage. Choreographers have drawn from Russian novels, Shakespeare, and modernism itself.
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Obama & GILEAD: Lessons on Loving Thy Neighbor

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Recently, an interview that Barack Obama gave in 1995—which was republished in The New Yorker just before the Presidential Inauguration in 2009—made the rounds on social media again.
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The Collective Action of Swan Maidens

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Last month I sat through five productions of Swan Lake, five days in a row. Despite a lifetime of ballet—and having danced the role of a swan in the ballet’s second act—I was hazy on the story’s ending. As perhaps I should be, as I’ve found evidence of nine
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Listening to Baltimore

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Meet your narrator: a white woman who runs a community-based literary organization for Black kids. Your setting? Baltimore. A year ago, your narrator sat around with four other writers. Three of us white, one Black, one Asian. We were trying to figure out how to talk about the events
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Our Matriarchs of Letters

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  Every year, the VIDA Count reminds us just how far women have to go in order to achieve gender parity in the publishing world. This Women’s History Month, let’s reflect on twenty-six centuries of firsts from women writers. From Ancient Greece to the Baltimore Uprising, these eight women
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On Crafting Presidential Narratives

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Martin O’Malley’s failed presidential bid is a novel that writes itself, and I’d write it tomorrow if my plot wouldn’t risk turning into fan fiction. A handsome, two-term governor gets bested by a woman and a socialist and suspends his campaign after receiving 0.5% of the vote in the
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Rereading GILEAD on the Eve of the Iowa Caucus

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Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead became my favorite novel a decade ago. I read the first half the book in Iowa City and the second half the book in Wichita, Kansas, which undoubtedly brought the narrator’s prairie landscape to life. I lived the book in solitude, existing with Reverend John Ames
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